Digital photography may seem like an alternative form of photography, but look deep within and what you have is a vast world where image manipulation is the most advanced form. Digital photographs do not necessarily refer to the mere usage of a ‘digital sensor’ instead of using the film room to shoot subjects. In fact, with digital photos comes the need of image enhancement, manipulation, and even graphic arts, which improve upon standard photographs.
While the notion of editing and manipulating a digital photo may seem pretty much the same to novices, there are many differences to note between the two. For instance, professional picture editing means to enhance the components of a photo and meet basic requirements of the photographer. If an existing photo needs better brightness and contrast, more saturation, a shift in focus, and optimization by cropping, it is an enhancement done to the photo. On other hand, to modify certain image elements like adding skyline from another photo, removing unwanted elements in the backdrop, removing blemishes from a portrait, and change facial features, it refers to image manipulation.
That is one of the reasons why photo clipping service providers classify editing and image manipulation as two services altogether for the clients. While the latter uses digital trickeries, the former process is a basic workflow. Besides, not all photographs need manipulation but most need some amount of editing or retouching in order to publish the same on a journal, which can be digital or print media.
Photo manipulation, on the other hand, is mostly sought after for fashion photographs like headshots of models, nature photos, and even standard photos to a lesser extent. Most of the manipulated photographs are often displayed via digital media as forms of graphic arts. Think of it as enhancing the appearance of a good quality photo to meet the artistic vision, which the photographer needs to achieve at all costs. With post-processing, there is no limit to what editors can do to an image and most are done to help them meet the vision.
If you want to create a photo with ‘funky extrude’, a ‘cracked skin effect’, ‘halftone dots’, and so forth, you are in the realm of image manipulation. Other than that, adjusting the blemishes and making a photograph presentable is all what professional picture editing does.